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Inbound Service and How It Can Impact Performance

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Modern customers have a clear view of how the business treats them. Therefore, a customer’s voice defines a company’s reputation. A recent statistic developed by Bain & Company through a Customer-Lead Growth diagnostic questionnaire shows that 80% of businesses believe they deliver superior CS; in reality, only 8% provide it. 

Organizational excellence is a result that comes from individual and team excellence; businesses are based on humans. If we compare a business to an orchestra, the musicians should play from the same sheet of music. Also, they should increase their performance both individually and as a group. Each of them has a significant role and must follow their conductor’s instructions. What will it happen if each of them plays from a different sheet of music? 

This article will present an overview of the inbound customer service concept and the application of the concept to the performance management field. 

What is Inbound Service?

The term was created by HubSpot in 2006 and used initially in the marketing field which eventually got applied to sales and customer service. 

Inbound service is a modern process of finding potential customers organically by providing value, building trust, and more, focusing on customer retention rather than buying it as in the traditional outbound marketing approach. It supposes coordination of efforts of marketing, sales, and customer service. 

The opposite methodology is the outbound customer service, focused mostly on reaching the clients using cold calls. It is focused primarily on lead generation and sales, then secondly on performing customer satisfaction surveys or offering initiative-taking customer service. 

Inbound customer service is a win-win methodology that implies attracting, engaging, and turning your loyal customers into loyal advocates. 

Tom Reilly affirmed in his book Customer Service is More Than a Department: It’s an attitude

If you define success as helping others achieve higher levels of success, you will have all the success you can handle. This is one of the great promises of business. If you believe that your first mission is to help customers achieve great things, they will ensure you achieve great things. Profit follows performance. To excel, you must put the customer first.”

Is Inbound Customer Service relevant for Performance Management?

Customer service should be a priority for the whole company, not just for the CS department. If the Performance Management System is based on the customer experience, the business will grow and prosper.

When businesses develop a sound Performance Management Framework with aligned tools, processes, and techniques, they will also build a Performance Management Culture. In this regard, every employee understands his or her role within the organization. 

When CS Representatives are following the internal process over the customer wants, by using cold scripts and skipping human conversation, this will hurt business results and conduct to underperformance.

To develop a customer-oriented culture, being focused on having satisfied and engaged clients means to implement the inbound CS methodology as an extent to the Inbound Organization strategy.

How to measure what matters in Customer Service Performance

Let us suppose a business’s long-term objective is to increase customer satisfaction. It will measure performance by using KPIs such as $ Revenue per client, # Complaints received, and % Customer satisfaction. One of our initiatives is CRM software implementation.

If we apply the principles of Inbound methodology, we should focus more on innovative ways to grow and listen. This supposes that we have already measured and found ways of improvement, and already implemented a CRM software solution. The Inbound approach is a step forward in CS Performance Improvement and we should use the following techniques such as: 

  1. Conduct a Net Promoter Score Email Survey to identify promoters by collecting answers at the end of your customer journey. This measures the larger customer sentiment. 
  2. Conduct a Customer Effort Score Survey to measure the entire experience. Collect specific feedback at key points of your customer journey, using the feedback asking feedback after post-ticket feedback.
  3. Use a 3-point satisfaction survey using emotions: smile, angry or neutral faces. This survey should happen at key moments in the customer lifecycle.
  4. Designate a feedback collector. The results should share at all company levels, cascading from top management down to employee level. 
  5. Compile a list of your potential advocates to find who your supporters are.
  6. Design an advocacy activation plan to activate your advocates who will help your business grow. 

A hybrid system of Inbound and Outbound Customer Service

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a big demand for delivering transformational experiences, especially when customers are passing through challenging situations. Inbound customer service teams will monitor the incoming live chat and incoming calls, while outbound customer service is more focused on selling and marketing, trying to reach customers via email, phone, or even by text messages. 

The inbound approach is aspirational and future-oriented, and it can do more than generate revenue or reduce the number of complaints. It can include generating revenue using upselling and cross-selling. Since what matters is customer satisfaction and resolution speed, for inbound contact centers, outbound contact centers’ performance focuses on high conversion ratios.

In a hybrid call center, agents are responsible for both receiving calls and reaching out the potential customers; it reunites and centralizes all communication channels. For most businesses, it is important to use both approaches and deliver both proactive and reactive support for customers.

In today’s fast-paced digital environment, customers are changing their ways to do business at an exponential rate. If a company needs to survive in these conditions, it must fundamentally shift its thinking. Today, businesses should create relationships and increase ideas, which will help them have a competitive advantage, increase brand recognition, and grow market share. 

The whole company should be a part of delivering an extraordinary experience for the customer, not just marketing and sales. Everyone must be aligned with the company mission, culture, and strategies to deliver value to the customers. 

To upskill your knowledge on measuring and improving Customer Service Performance, join The KPI Institute’s upcoming editions of the Certified Customer Service Performance Professional.

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